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purgation of the temple, and the sign which he proposed as the evidence of his mission, must have been noticed and felt. When these proofs of an extraordinary character were accompanied and supported by a display of miraculous powers, the effect must have been what the evangelist relates: “When he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast-day, many believed in his name when they saw the miracles which he did.” Nor was this impression confined to vulgar minds, for we presently find a mind high in rank and office bearing testimony to Christ’s prophetic character, and to the foundation on which it rested. “Nicodemus, a pharisee and ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher sent from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” But the sacred historian subjoins a reflection most humiliating to human nature; for it implies that the understanding may be enlightened, and the conscience perfectly convinced, and yet the heart remains corrupted and malignant, “Many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.” But the searcher of hearts discerned under a sound belief, a dangerous, and unsubdued perversity of disposition in which he could not confide. “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them.” In this Christ acted as a pattern to his disciples, and conformed himself to the doctrine which he taught them. “Beware of men; be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” There is an excess of caution unworthy of a noble and generous mind, which damps exertion and poisons society. But there is also an excess of confidence which puts the candid and sincere in the power of the crafty and designing. True wisdom safely conducts its possessor through the channel which divides them. “A prudent man,” says Solomon, “foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.”
“The chapter concludes with an ascription to Christ of one of the incommunicable attributes of Deity, the knowledge of the thoughts of men: “He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” Of this he had given an illustrious instance in the case of Nathanael, whose character he clearly discerned before any personal intercourse had taken place: “Before that Philip called thee, when thou was under the fig-tree, I saw thee.” Here it is reduced to a general proposition of high mo. ment. “The Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son:” and he is qualified for the discharge of this all-important office, by a perfect knowledge not only of the actions of a man’s life, but of the motive from which he acted, and of the end at which he aimed. May it be engraved on the living table of our heart, that God “hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assu
rance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
But some man will say, How are the dead raised up 3 .And with what body do they come 2 Thou fool that which thou sowest is not quickened eaccept it die. And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain; but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestialis one, and the glory of the terrestrual is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars ; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead: it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption : it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual dody. . There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.— I CorIN THIANs xv. 35–44,
To him who believes in the life and immortality which are brought to light by the gospel; to him who has the witness of death every day presented to his eyes, and who feels it continually in his own frame,
can it ever be unseasonable or unprofitable to hear of the ground of his holy faith, of his glorious privileges, of his exalted hope? Does the worldling ever tire in calculating his gains, and of reckoning over his hoard 2 Is the eager heir ever cloyed in contemplating his fair and ample expected inheritance? When were the praises, the reported successes, wisdom and virtue of a darling child, a burden on the listening ear of parental affection? When was the eye fatigued in surveying the beautiful and majestic fabric of nature, or turned away from it with disgust 2 Wherefore, then, should it be apprehended that the disciple of Jesus, who has fled for refuge to the hope set before, whose brightest prospects open beyond the grave, who is rejoicing in the promise of his master's coming “the second time, without sin, unto salvation ;” wherefore suppose that such a person could say, “What a weariness is it !” when the preacher's theme is the complete restoration of man’s fallen nature, the resurrection of man's fallen nature, the resurrection of the body, the perfect resemblance of all the members of Christ to the glorious head, the final and unfading triumph of redeeming love? No, well pleased, you withdraw from the pursuit of temporal pleasure and profit, from surveying the kingdoms of this world and the glory of them, from contemplating even the more glorious wonders of the starry heavens, to expatiate over the blissful regions of Emanuel's land, to drink of “the pure river of the water of life,” to eat of the fruit of the tree of life, to feast on the promise of “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness,” where there is no more death, where the curse is not known, where God himself shall wipe away all tears from all eyes. Previous to the breaking of bread, in commemoration of our Saviour's dying love to perishing sinners, we were led to meditate on the final consummation which the ordinance has directly in view. “As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come;” an event which involves in itself the fate of angels and of men; an event which shall exhibit the grandest display of the divine power and wisdom, of justice, goodness, and truth; an event which is at once the object of just terror, and the purest source of joy. One, and that not the least interesting consideration connected with the prospect of that “great and notable day of the Lord,” is that which constitutes the subject of the apostle's reasoning in the passage which has now been read, namely, the resurrection of the dead. The ground of belief respecting this, is the truth and certainty of Christ's resurrection on the third day after his passion, conformably to frequently repeated, well known, and minutely particular predictions respecting this illustrious event. These were the subject of the preceding lecture. “Jesus and the resurrection,” were the great theme of Paul’s preaching at learned Athens, and of his epistles to the churches, particularly to the Corinthians in this chapter. This is the sure foundation which God hath laid in Zion, and lo, what a structure is Providence rearing upon it! The apostle introduces an unbeliever, cavilling at the doctrine of the resurrection, and triumphantly demanding, as one defying all possibility of reply, “How are the dead raised up 2 and with what body do they come 2° Grasping at mere phantoms of wordly hope, credulous as children in admitting “the unreal, mockery” of a heated imagination, men doubt and disbelieve only when the God of truth speaks; they are careless only where their spiritual and everlasting interests are concerned : they reject that which reason and religion concur to prove, which the constitution and frame of nature, in her unceasing re-productions, stamp with striking marks of probability, and which a revelation from heaven has rendered infallible. The objection of infidelity,